Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Johnny Continues to Ignore Copyright

Given that this week’s theme is ‘Copyright’, I went back to a recent article I had read in CIO Insight, in January, by Larry Downes, Associate Dean of the UC-Berkeley School of Information Management and Systems and the author of Unleashing the Killer App and The Strategy Machine.

In the article titled “Why Johnny Can’t Stop Sharing Files”, Larry postulates that: “Copyright is effectively dead, despite the entertainment industry having won the Grokster case—or maybe even, in part, because it did. The consequences of ignoring the that change are dire.

He makes several key points, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Open Text Mining Interface

A couple of days ago, I came across a note by Tim O’Reilly concerning the Open Text Mining Interface (OTMI). O’Reilly described it as a “copyright hack.” It seems this initiative was started by Timo Hannay, who has also blogged about it on the website of his employer, Nature magazine. The initiative itself is an attempt to respond positively to requests from indexers and data-miners for full-text versions of articles, but without at the same time making human-readable versions of the articles readily available free to non-subscribers. OTMI, an XML format, consists of “word vectors” plus “snippets” which amount, more . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Da Vinci Code Copyright Case

To lighten the tone of this week’s serious theme, I give you Justice Peter Smith’s trial reasons in the Da Vinci Code copyright case, aka Baigant and Leigh v. Random House Group Limited.

Just to add to the spicy controversy that seems to follow this popular (but only slightly entertaining and definitely non-literary) book, blogger Ashby Jones (WSJ) posits that the judge imbedded his own code into his judgment. Here’s part of his post for your own entertainment:

He just couldn’t resist, could he? Justice Peter Smith, the judge who presided over the recent “Da Vinci Code” copyright infringement

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Searching for Creative Commons Content

Thanks to the Service de recherche documentaire in Boucherville for a post that I missed last year about a feature on the Advanced Google Research page that could be very handy.

There is a box marked Usage Rights, which permits you to search for content that is
* free to use, share or modify, even commercially
* free to use, share or modify,
* free to use or share, even commercially
* free to use or share
* not filtered by licence

So if a page is liberated from traditional content restrictions by having a Creative Commons licence, you can . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Musicians Chime in on Copyright

Today is World Intellectual Property Day.

Just in time for our Copyright Week, a who’s who of Canadian Music announced yesterday the formation of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition.

They are a strong force:

Barenaked Ladies,
Avril Lavigne,
Sarah McLachlan,
Chantal Kreviazuk,
Sum 41,
Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace),
Dave Bidini (Rheostatics),
Billy Talent,
John K. Samson (Weakerthans),
Broken Social Scene,
Andrew Cash
Bob Wiseman (Co-founder Blue Rodeo)

What is interesting from a copyright perspective is that they are articulating an artist-based, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Gervais and Craig on Copyright

The recent issue of the University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal has two articles on copyright by Canadian scholars: “The Purpose of Copyright Law in Canada,” by Ottawa’s Daniel Gervais, and “The Evolution of Originality in Canadian Copyright Law: Authorship, Reward and the Public Interest” by my colleague at Osgoode, Carys Craig. Both articles are available online in PDF format. The abstracts follow:

In three recent cases, the Supreme Court of Canada provided several pieces of the Canadian copyright policy puzzle. We now know that the economic purpose of copyright law is instrumentalist in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Copyright, Librarians and the Greatful Dead

I just happened upon this fun, quick interview from last year with David Dodd, editor of The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics (Free Press: October, 2005) , chair–at the time–of the California Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, and director of the San Rafael Public Library. The interview was conducted by law librarian Mary Minow from California, and was posted to collaborative blog LibraryLaw Blog.

Greatful Dead were known for allowing their devoted followers to tape their concerts. Minow asks the big question, whether the same ethic of sharing followed when Dodd went to publish Dead lyrics in hard . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Copyright and the Demise of the Copier

There’s an article in today’s New York Times, in the Business Section (page C3) which reveals that Xerox profits have taken a downward turn and that its share price has fallen. Given all of the concentration these days on the ‘high-tech’ end of copyright, as well as the news-making cases of alleged plagiarism that have seen authors in court (and there’s yet another case, also in today’s Times, involving the author of the improbably named “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life” (page A14), its interesting to reflect on the story about Xerox and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Practical Side of Copyright

Having glanced through a number of the Theme Week articles, I haven’t yet found the practical advice I’m longing for – how can I (a lawyer who should know the law) make sure I don’t go astray when posting to SLAW?

Let me give some simple examples. I decide I want to include a link to an article I’ve recently read on another website. Is it clear that I can link to an “embedded” page rather than just to the first level page? What if I read the article on one of those new “aggregation” pages (I forget the technical . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Publishers and Copyright

The following, sent to Slaw by special arrangement, is a version of the lecture delivered at the session on Publishing and the Public Interest at the 6th International Publishers Copyright Symposium, Montreal, April 24, 2006, by David Vaver, Professor of intellectual property & and information technology law, University of Oxford, and director of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, St Peter’s College.

The public image of publishers and copyright

What does the public want of publishers? As book buyers, they want ready access to cheap and varied books in their language of choice. They don’t want to be told . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law